Friday, November 4, 2011

Silent Monks

If you haven't seen this, get ready. I was the 8,508,753rd viewer so perhaps you saw it before me. It's still worth another look to make you smile.

Monday, October 24, 2011

GO Saints!!





Saints 62
Colts er, 7

Nuff said.

Yeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Too Lazy to Exercise?

I think I've made my last excuse.

Maybe six or seven years ago, I watched a report on CNN about a woman who (at a certain age when most people let exercise slide for good) began jogging. On the day when this report was made she was 74. The doctors told her she had the energy, organs and health of a forty year old woman. I'm at that certain age when she began and I've been saying to myself before I pass that certain mark I am going to be exercising on a regular basis. I had a good start and then I broke my little toe. But after seeing this, I'm saying, hey, surely there's exercise you can do to meet that commitment if you want it bad enough ...


Today the news covered an extraordinary woman as she crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon, and promptly went into labor.
Talk about a good excuse to skip the marathon.

















And the kicker, her husband couldn't keep up with her; he was actually fifteen minutes behind.

Don'tcha just love it.

Quite an inspiration and yet so many people are speaking out against what she did even though she is fit and had her doctor's support. She's run for along time and during her son's pregnancy as well.

People get a grip! You're just jealous!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye, Steve

Do yourself a favor and watch this video of his Stanford address:


Steve did us all a favor - no, not just the entire Apple world he created, the technology we benefited from, but the concept that we have but one life to accomplish our dreams.
How high is the bar he set...
you'll be missed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Must-see Donations to Scottish Poetry Library



Please believe me when I say this is not an intentional lazy post. I just could not do it justice. An author friend tweeted this link yesterday and I just had to share these extraordinary gifts to the Scottish Poetry Library. 
"One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive - the library's Twitter account - reading:
It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.… 
... We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.… 
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)"
Jump to this page to see these marvelous sculptures. My favorite is the Gramaphone.




Please go to the site and view the other superb sculptures. 

If we all did a 1000th of what this artist is doing for our libraries, they would not be in jeopardy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Global tributes to 911


England

France (who also built two eighty foot towers to stand beside the Eiffel Tower)

Actors in Germany at the old East West checkpoint

Grieving father at the new memorial New York

India (the man in the picture was lost that day)

Japan

Spain



May we all learn to live in peace and never forget the cost.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Are you readddyyyyy for....

 


Gotcha! You thought I was going to say football, didn't ya? Well, okay, I am a hard core football fan and the season did start tonight with our previous SB champ Saints in Lambeau field against the defending Super Bowl champ Packers. So it was like a Super Bowl on the first night of football season. And our Saints represented themselves well - the first opener where each quarterback threw for 300 plus yards with no interceptions. A 76 point game!


But back to my opening. Are you ready for me to start blogging again? Ready or not, it's time. 

I am an optimistic person. I've actually been teased for being too perky.  I made up my mind in January that this was going to be a good year. No, a great year. I felt it. I planned on it. Everything went as planned through April when I gave my first online workshop on Scrivener to our GIAM group, then 2011 started to go south.

On April 26th we got the news that the river was expected to hit 65 ft. 
Everyone. Panicked. 
Not many people believed the levee could hold 65 feet. Now we know that if they hadn't opened the spillways it may have gone to 68. Even 65 might have topped the levee. Most people didn't believe they had any choice but to move everything to Mississippi. It's a mark of how widely this sentiment was felt that absolutely all of the storage units within a hundred miles were reserved on that day, the 26th.

So between living out of a travel trailer away from home to struggling to make ends meet due to the increase in expenses and decrease in income, my muse decided to take an Alaskan cruise. Thank God, all we experienced was a loss of income and extreme inconvenience. And finally last month, my muse returned tanned and refreshed. 

Last week I discovered she - my muse - is a water nymph. She communicates to me mostly when we are sitting by the bayou, in the shower or in the tub. And last weekend as TS Lee approached she geared up for a long session. But like me, she's not really into bad weather. When Lee came ashore and parked just southwest of us, dumping 14 inches in a little over 24 hours and causing an electrical blackout, Nymphy - she hasn't told me her name yet - took a long nap. (Do you get the feeling that she's very tempermental?)

Since the TS, the weather has gone from triple digits to low 80s. Just delightful. So tomorrow I'll spend the morning with her by the bayou letting her help me with my main characters' motivations. I'm revising my novella and a novel with the goal of publishing one of them by December. 

With the end of snow ball season closing in, Nymphy and I are working together to make the big push on Monday, my first full day off in months except for last weekend.

Where do you do your best work? Is your muse involved or is a 'muse' an ethereal non-entity for you?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Governor visits Vidalia

Okay, so I'm on my way to get crawfish again and I get a call from a friend who says, "Did you hear the governor was on TV this morning saying there was a problem with the levee at Vidalia." Like a good girl, I say, hold on, I'll call you back. As the officials said, if you hear a rumor call us. So I called the radio station and the police dept and they assured me that everything was still status quo, that we should not pay attention to rumors, the governor didn't make any such statement.

Hmm, then my writer friend who lives in Vidalia calls and says, her sister talked to someone who worked at the Corps of Engineers and he said if his sister lived in Vidalia, he'd tell her to get the hell out. This kind of jives with the other two sources who said the river would go to either 67.5 or 68, but where is it officially being reported.

On the way back with crawfish I'm passed by a governor's office vehicle, sirens flashing and I think, okay, this has something to do with the levee. I get to Vidalia and I hear that the governor has visited and on the Facebook page there are lots of pictures of a serious governor, and a bunch of politicians taking photo ops, grinning and posing. How insulting.

Then, a big black motorhome kind of vehicle passes on the road and the printed words on the side say, "Federal Marshalls Command Center."

Oh, boy. Today we will take a couple loads to Mississippi. If all it takes is effort and gas and exhaustion on my part, I will protect my possessions to the best of my ability. Otherwise, I'd be letting myself down.

ON a lighter note, I found myself thinking yesterday as I packed the bathroom, that I should go ahead and dye my hair - yes, it is my natural color but I'm one of those people who plans to never know how much grey is really at the roots. I figure if I'm sitting on top of the roof waving for rescue and CNN comes along, I'll at least have red roots.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The River 2011 - perspective

It's a roller coaster of course. One day you're not even paying attention, the next the world seeems to be collapsing around you.

But...at least we are getting some advance notice to prepare, unlike the unfortunate in Alabama. The needs of your household and livelihood which seemed out of your control yesterday, dependent on the whims of a swollen river and weather north of you, and on officials with a multi-million dollar agenda - to preserve the future of the Riverwalk and the businesses there, seem somewhat more stable today.

Rumors abound and they are easy to believe as reality is all too scary on its own, but as officials deal with some of the more outragous rumors they realize the need to set the record straight and inform the public as to the truth (we hope).

As I drove down the levee, Tuesday, seeing the river nearly at eye level, I felt the sudden urgency to make a plan, find a hole to stash our belongings, somewhere safe. I was nearly shivering with it by the time I got the crawfish unloaded and began visiting storage businesses. The fear, uncertainty, lack of control and lack of a plan was the worst. Where would we go? What should we do about our businesses? disconnect and move and lose income? Stay and trust the officials when they say they have confidence in the levees to hold 65'. If the worst happened and we do flood, okay, we'd lose the house and everything left behind but suddenly friends have stepped up to offer places to store the businesses - at least they can be moved if necessary. And others have said if you get evacuated, bring everything here.

But something else - Mary touched on this yesterday in her comment - the feeling of gratitude for friends, community, our home and the serene surrounding that could be lost, suddenly appreciated more. These things I've taken for granted.
And good health.

I ran into a friend, I'll call her Bobbie, at Wal-mart yesterday when I ran in to buy more totes for packing. She asked if I was preparing for the flood. I asked if she was and she shrugged. Then I really looked at her. Beneath her ball cap, she was bald, and I knew. I saw the sadness and fear in her eyes. She mouthed, "I have cancer." I felt so humbled, so guilty for my selfishness, that I didn't see it right off. So pray for Bobbie, for her needs and her health.

Our officials and community are coming together more to stay informed. Facebook pages have sprung up for everything. The picture is of our parish surrounded by the levees, with the Mississippi on the right in blue.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dreading and Hoping - Record flooding of 2011

Two years ago, I blogged about the river rising - it was the last time I worried enough to rent a storage unit in nearby high n' dry Natchez, Mississippi. Back then I had trouble sleeping and my heart ran fast in anticipation. It went to nearly 58 feet, the third record flood year in five. 


As of two days ago, we knew this year would be worse with officials saying 60 ft (flood stage is 48) on the 20th of May - just a little over two weeks. Yesterday morning on my way down the levee to pickup crawfish, I received a call from a friend asking if I thought there would be any storage units left in Natchez. I replied, oh sure. Then I met a very depressed farmer at the convenience store who said "You better be getting your stuff out. My father was on the levee board and it can't hold 65'." At the time I didn't know they'd revised the assessment. Within just a few hours, that declaration went from 60 to 65 feet, and a couple of unofficial corp engineers say likely 68'. This would be twelve feet above the river level in 1927 when much of Louisiana was under water and you could boat just about anywhere from the river to north Louisiana. 


So from my somewhat lackidaisical attitude yesterday morning when I thought it was going to 60 to quiet desperation yesterday afternoon, quite a change. I tried to rent a storage unit in Ntz yesterday and they were ALL taken. Finally I found one in Brookhaven which will cost a fortune to make several trips. 

I’m torn between trusting the levee officials and the levees and leaving most of the furniture and a couple appliances to seeing if we can move everything. The thing is we don’t know where the water will come from, what the result will be as far as evacuation, and if or when. So we must prepare for all, whether we know ahead or get caught in the middle of the night with no vehicles. We are also hearing that the Black River behind Monterey is rising and if it jumps that levee we may be screwed even if the Mississippi levees hold.



Is it any wonder, I heard on CNN that the only state that had a rise in anxiety in the last couple years was Louisiana - the hurricanes, the river flooding three out of the last five years, the oil spill and now this.

I’m sincerely hoping I’m going to all this trouble for nothing because the devastation will be catastrophic. We’re even planning on shutting down the crawfish business early and probably our snow ball biz if necessary and dragging them to Natchez to a safety. We’ll put stuff inside each of them as well. It will mean pulling loose from utilities and resetting afterwards, but it’s better to be safe. If we lose our house AND our livelihood, it would be difficult to recover. 



Ironically, yesterday was the last day anyone was allowed to drive down the levee. If you drive it now for any reason, you'd be arrested. Here are a couple shots I took while driving with the river at 50'. Picture it at 65!




I'll be blogging each day about the process of packing up, the decision making, the questions, the fear and trembling, and the hope.
Stop by.


And if you've been through a similar situation or are one of those affected by the Alabama tornado outbreak, God Bless you. 
Share your story here.

Marley

Friday, April 8, 2011

Interview with a Cover girl, er, Artist



It seems that more and more writers are jumping into self-publishing every day.  Whether you’re a multi-published author who wants to see that one story (you know the one everyone loved but the editors didn’t know how to sell?) or a writer with a series that’s too short, or an epic too long for traditional publishing - aside from the manuscript, you’ll all have to have one thing...


A cover.






So I've asked Laura Morrigan to come by today and the answer some questions on cover art design. Welcome, Laura!



L: Hi Martie, thanks for having me!


M: What should authors know before hiring a cover artist?  What should we look for?


L:  Experience working in the fiction genre and good communication skills!  Also, in my opinion, your cover artist should be willing to work with you-- not only on the concept and design of the single novel, but (possibly) integrating this “look” with your blog or website etc…  If you have a kickin’ website design that you love and fits perfectly with the types of novels you write, it would be silly not to consider that.
Also, authors should understand that, although the designer works for them, there is a level of trust that must be established.  I've had plenty of writers come to me with ideas for their cover that would have been impossible to pull off without the help of George Lucas and an entire film crew.  A cover should be a snapshot, not an epic.  Trust your artist.  Be open-minded and willing to listen.  Your artist should do the same for you.


M:  So how do I express to an artist what I'm looking for in a design without going overboard? I have pictures galore!


L:   By all means go overboard!  The more I know about the book the better.  Just be ready to trim the fat.  And send pictures!  I love it when a client has photos they used for inspiration.  If your hero looks like a cross between George Clooney and Tarzan send me pics! (I can never have enough photos of George Clooney anyway…)  Also, if other book covers or movie posters resonate with you and have the right “feel” send those, too.
And remember to explain why those images work.  Is it the colors?  The overall  tone?  The font?   George Clooney?   [M: My preference is Joe Lara, TV’s Tarzan and the Last Apache.]


M:  What should authors expect when working with a cover artist?


L:  Everyone works differently-- I can only speak for myself.  I believe designing a cover is a collaboration between artist and author.  I ask for synopsis, sometimes a first chapter, and for the author to make a list of any items that play a vital role in the story and any major, visually impactful moments that happen.   Once I’ve looked all this over and the author and I have come up with a basic idea, I'll design a mockup (sort of a rough draft of the cover).  Typically, I send several mockups for the author to review before we settle on the right one.


M:  What do you see as the biggest misconception authors have regarding cover artwork?


L:  That it’s quick and painless!  No, really, I’ve had a few friends who I've helped create their own covers tell me that they had no idea how long it was going to take.   Just searching for the right stock image can take hours-- even days.
Then there's the execution of the design.  Even if you’re working on great software like Photoshop—tweaking, repositioning, color matching, deleting backgrounds, adding different backgrounds… it all takes time.   At least it does if you want a quality cover!


M:  let's get to the nitty gritty, how much should an author expect to pay for a quality cover?


L:  Again, prices vary from artist to artist. A straightforward design for e-publishing  on Smashwords, kindle, nook, etc ( typically a 6x9ish rectangle) will be less expensive than a POD design which has to include the spine, back cover and calculate trim-size, bleed, etc...
For the straightforward design I'd say anywhere between $50- for a very simple image with title and name- up to several hundred for hand-illustrated work.  I charge $100 plus the cost of images- usually no more than $125.
POD from some can run between $150 to close to $1000 - or more.[M: Yeah, it’s great when the publisher is paying, isn’t it.]


M: Laura will be available in the morning and late to answer your questions or check back tomorrow.
This has been so informative, Laura. Thanks for dropping in.


Laura Morrigan spends most of her time writing mystery and suspense novels.  After receiving requests from friends, she started designing ebook covers and promotional material.  To see some of her designs and learn more about Laura, you can visit her website www.lauramorrican.com




Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Under the Slush Pile

Ready for a good laugh?

Q:
"I write with the truth that is like a sword of two edges that can and will penetrate each reader and leave an impression lasting at least this life time.   The material written has power that can unite a planet for the good of mankind and earth.  It may well be the only true chance that mankind has for the long awaited evolution towards spirituality."
A:      "Dear Tom Cruise, we regret to inform you that our client list is full." 

This is just the latest example of what you'll see at Slushpilehell, a site I tumbled upon recently. I love this one but there are so many more at Slushpilehell.

Q:
"I just completed my 91st short story.  But that’s not the email I wanted to send to you. To the point, I concede (read—Uncle! ).  I don’t possess the luck required to attract an agent via query letter.  But, then, I know brilliant scholars who are terrible test takers.  You are a talented agent, likely overworked.  Think outside the box.  A single talented writer possessing eight uniquely entertaining novels and ninety-one short stories could make life easier.  Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.  A brief conversation will save you weeks, if not months, of fruitless query reading."
A:     "Great. A writer with 8 novels, 91 short stories, and the inability to write a query letter. 
          "Hope you’re standing by your phone, because I’d hate for you to miss my call."

Just don't laugh too hard...


[One more]
Q:
         "I am typing you this digital letter requesting that your agency  represent me in securing a top-notched publisher to produce and sell my  book."

A:
         "Hey, buddy. It’s 2011. We no longer call them “digital letters.” They’re now known as “mystical airwave bulletins.”



For more of these gems, go to http://slushpilehell.tumblr.com   and let me know if you find a jewel.



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writers and words

Words are the be all end all to a writer. The nuances of meanings can mean the difference in writing a gem and dishing out garbage.

How much do you use a thesaurus? Do you use an online version or a handy old Roget's? Are you one of the lucky ones who has all those words in your head and you just sit back and smile when I mention thesaurai? [a stab at the plural]

Sometimes when I'm searching for jusssst the right word I'll open my Mac Thesaurus which is essentially the Oxford Thesaurus. It's very handy. But I'm a visual person, color and design stimulates my creative juices. For years I've been checking out unique versions of thesaurus like Thesaurus.com, Word Menu and Visual Thesaurus. But I haven't been willing to let loose of the cash for these yet.

Well, now there's a free visual thesaurus - with a nod to Leah for sharing this with me so I could bring this cool writer's tool to your attention...

Visuwords


It shows relationships between words with the color (legend at the bottom). You can double click a word and it will open a new axis of words. Double tap and drag to spread it out over your browser. And you can choose to fill your browser with the spread of words and zoom in or out. Cool, huh?

Enjoy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview with a DemonTrapper author

Hey, I'm over at Blame It On the Muse today interviewing YA fantasy author Jana Oliver whose release in January was the top seller in the UK.


Jana's chatting about her writing process, cemeteries, and plotting ideas. A very cool person. And she loves  Scotch and chocolate. What more can I say?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Don't Think of Yourself in 'Those Terms'

Okay, it's the big day. You know that big day. The one that comes around annually. The one that when you're young you hope someone - anyone - will remember, but as the years go by you pray everyone will forget. Which has to be a lie because here I am.

My friend Cadence gave me a gift certificate to this really cool site - Decalgirl They sell 'skins' for your computer to personalize and beautify it. Last year I bought 'Hal' an image of the computer on 2001 - A Space Oddysey? Now, I'm trying to decide between these three. What do you think?

Cool pixies

Aah, my colors

Awesome, Saturn up close and...

Aren't they beautiful? I may have to have two.

A friend of mine used to say, when someone asked her how old she was, "I don't think of myself in those terms..." I've always loved that. The older I get the more I view birthdays as a new chance to get it right, to enjoy the magical mystery of what's ahead.

Here are some fun quotes about birthdays:
"For weeks I've been telling him not to buy anything for my birthday, and he still forgot to bring me something. Tanya Noe.  (Tell me you haven't done that or heard it. ;))

"As one cat said to another: Birthdays are like fur balls 0 the more you have, the more you gag."
Maria Morgan. Unless you think about the alternative, Maria.

"Gray hair is God's graffiti." Bill Cosby. (Don't you just love Bill's humor.)

"Women, don't get a tattoo. That butterfly looks great on your breast when you're twenty or thirty, but when you get to seventy, it stretches into a condor. Billy Elmer (Just when I was considering it...)

"I was going to take you out to lunch on your birthday but you already are." Ouch, that hits home. 

Do you have any favorite jokes or birthday stories? How you look at birthdays? Were you one of those who made fun of your parents when they were in their thirties?


Thursday, February 3, 2011

We're not exempt from the Winter blast

This is the outlook for today.



They are saying up to 1/2 inch of ice possible through tonight. Helloooo, we're in central Louisiana just west of the point in the ankle of the boot. People here aren't experienced with winter conditions. Ice here can be the Lake Shore Drive event on the bayou.


And speaking of Lake Shore Drive, did you see these pics on the Weather channel?

Can you imagine coming back to a car slam full of snow?

But look, how fun. Catch the wave..............

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lazy Blog - Commercials

I've noticed some of the ads on TV have taken a remarkably creative turn. My top picks for the latest plain old everyday TV ads. Which one is your favorite?




Mentos Spider

State Farm


Allstate - Mayhem

With SuperBowl coming up in a a few weeks, the ads will have to come a long way to top these three.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Progress

Finally, my partial and synopsis are ready to send off!

I had two hard and fast deadlines this week both January 15th, yesterday. One was a contest where I entered the revised partial and synopsis, the other my proposal for a workshop on writing software for M&M in October. I hit the send button on one Friday night and the other last night at 8:30pm after spending the day 90 miles away with a writing buddy brainstorming career choices and publishing options.

It feels good to have accomplished that goal two weeks early but now comes the query writing, ugh!

With my background in sales I ought to be able to write a helluva query but it's different somehow. Maybe I'm making it too difficult. I'll let you know how it goes in two weeks or less.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What I've Been Reading - Stanley, Nasty and Morgan

First of all, because it was the cutest and most surprising thing I've read lately, Stanley Moves In by Jack Rosse, (otherwise known as Bill Kirton or crime fiction fame).

Stanley is not just another fairy; well he is, but even though Stanley's story was inspired by and written for kids, he is surprisingly cantankerous, lovingly so. There's a vulnerability to him that we love, like a hero we think we can fix or the underdog we want to see come out on top.  Don't take my word for it. Let Stanley tell you.



During the Christmas hiatus from writing I read several paranormals and young adult authors but got hooked instantly on Cate Tiernan's series, Sweep, about a young doesn't-wanna-be-a witch, Morgan, who learns of her powers as she fends off the forces of darkness, attends high school and falls in love.  I couldn't put them down, all 15 of them.  Her newest book is not YA but the series holds a lot of promise. Just out is Immortal Beloved.
Pulled from my 'library' in the office closet where it had been buried on the TBR shelf was Susan Wittig Albert's mystery series, the first one, Thyme of Death. China Bayles is a forty something ex-defense lawyer who has moved from the rat race of Houston, to the tiny town of Pecan Springs where she runs an herb shop called Thyme & Seasons, solves murders with her sidekick Ruby who runs the New Age shop next door, and battles her attraction to ex-cop now criminology professor and hunkahunka burnin'love, Mike McQuaid. Lots of great description and community in this 16 book series (so far). An instant success with me.

What was the last thing you read? What genres do you read?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Libraries a Writer's Eutopia

You may have scene the article in the Observer about libraries of the rich and famous.

I found it fascinating. Personally if I had the money mine would look iike Diane Keaton's.  Although now that I look at it, it seems to be a place to walk through not to curl up and stay for a while. Maybe Rod Stewart's though his books looked faunky.



OMG!!

That's if I had a housekeeper. And if I had a housekeeper he or she would have to love arranging books. If I had to keep it up myself it would look more like Karl Lagerfeld's. The furniture would be different, okay that's what I like about Rod's the furniture.


Housekeeper or not it would not look like Oprah's. This would be impossible for me. My rooms look...lived in. I mean how could a writer create in an environment like that.

 And just to prove it...


As you can see by my untouched photos, I need a library that breathes and expands as needed. At top left is one corner of my office and all the books in that corner and in the office closet are three deep.

Yes, that tub is full of books and there are more books on the floor and in boxes in the closet and in the book section of my desk and under my end table in the living room.
I made the mistake of giving up one of my floor to ceiling shelves (which I found at a garage sale for $5.00 a piece) for a closet shelf. I thought I could contain it. But hey one of these days all the walls will be lined but one, for my storyboarding area.

What about you? Why don't you post a picture of your library on your blog?


Speaking of books - What I've just finished reading…Stanley, Morgan and Nasty (Friday...)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Twelve Step Guide to Getting Published


So you wanna write a book. Want to see your name in print on the spine of your book in the local Walmart or on the pages of Amazon. 
Think you can be the next J.K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, Peter V. Brett?  
How do you go about it?
Well, get your pad and pencil, I’m fixin’ to tell you how…   
1.              First, decide how much you’d like to make in a year. (This will determine how many novels you must turn in to your publisher per year.)
2.              Make a projection when you’d like to quit your day job. (I suggest you give it at least three months.)
3.              Pick a genre that sells. (How about men’s fiction - Crime Fiction or Thrillers. Those thriller writers make big bucks – Harlen Coben, David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, Dan Brown! Yeah, okay, men’s fiction.)
4.              Next, you need a plot.  Hey, here’s the beauty of men’s fiction. Just go to the Washington Post or USA Today or any local paper and pick a headline.
5.              Now tweak it. Change the names, add some extra conflict - you know, fight scenes and such. Oh, and a good no holds barred love scene, or three.
6.              Don’t have a computer? (It’s a great time to go get the Ipad you’ve been wanting, and hey, Peter Brett wrote his entire first book on his cell phone!) Either go buy one or simply right it long hand. You must use your very best handwriting though, for a publisher to take you seriously.
7.              Get a friend to look it over for spelling since you won’t have the benefit of spell checker (which completely eliminates the need for proof reading).
8.              Oh, length. It needs to be long. About 300-400 pages. (That’s about 2 composition notebooks.)
9.              Just remember, if you chose Romance, to be sure to get your hero and heroine together at the End for their happy ever after.
10.          Okay. You’ve finished the book and you’re ready to send it. How to decide on a publisher. Take a couple of your favorites and look at the publisher on the spine, or on the copywrite page. And before you prepare your cover letter, you might consider contacting your favorite author and asking him or her if you can use them as a reference with the publisher. Just assure them, they will NOT be sorry.  Promise them a recommendation or blurb for their next bestseller.
11.          That’s it. (You know a little light spray of perfume might make it stand out from the crowd in what they call the slush pile.) So, box it up, mark on the outside of the box - Attn: Next Bestseller! and mail it off.  In about a month, you’ll have your answer. <Cough> Or sooner.
12.          Now sit down and plan how you’re going to spend the money.
Did I miss anything?

 How many times have I heard from a friend or someone in the family –
“They didn’t buy your book at the conference?”
“How long are you going to write before you give up being published?”
“Are you still working on the same book? Just send it off."

Okay, reality check here!

The truth? 
Writing a book with the intent of getting it published is one of the hardest things to accomplish.
Many, many - make that three manys - of your favorite authors, the majority in fact, write into the wee hours after long hours at work and/or taking care of their families. Many published writers have written for numerous years and numerous manuscripts before getting ‘the Call’ and then…they still work, write late or on lunch hours, and take care of responsibilities. The Call (and I haven’t received mine yet ) isn’t some magical Disney ‘blinnggggg’ where life changes. Most published authors I know haven’t bought a private plane, appeared on TV, or even hired maid service.
Writing is a challenge, a dream, a passion.  I’m reminded of the lyrics by Shania Twain, 
“If you’re not in it for love, you’re outta here.”
The bottom line?   Writing is a labor of love.
I’m curious. How does this translate into your writing experience? What part of the writing passion calls to you the most? What were your biggest misconceptions when you began your career? Have you died laughing over some question or comment about this pursuit?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gerry Rafferty is gone

I didn't know this until I saw Michael Malone's blog this morning. What a loss to the world. I could sit and listen to his "Baker Street" literally over and over and over. I don't believe there was ever a song like that for me except maybe Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror".

Enjoy!